By Jacob Trimmer
Inside The Pew

A Christian clothing line founded by a former NFL player ranks as the top read story on Inside The Pew for 2013.

Mark Clayton, who was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in 2005, launched his own clothing line – My Christian T – back in 2011.Mark Clayton Although Clayton confirmed with Inside The Pew on Twitter in 2012 that he no longer operates the clothing, there is still an interest in the wide receiver’s entrepreneurial aspirations.

Clayton was traded to the St. Louis Rams in 2010, but injuries signed the Oklahoma Sooner’s career in the NFL. He told Sean Devine of Did You See That?! in September he has no regrets about his NFL playing days.

“Every minute, every experience, every relationship, I’ll never forget any of it. I’m working hard to come back and I hope to continue my career. Hopefully we can add some more stories, relationships, and experiences to my legacy.”

Three other sports related stories made the top 10. The filming of a biopic on high school football coach Bob Ladouceur in New Orleans came in at No. 4, while stories about Super Bowl XLVII coaches (and brothers) Jim Harbaugh and John Harbaugh were ranked No. 7 and  No. 8, respectively.

The story of Tyres Dixon, a Houston resident who works for the United Way and winner of the nonprofit organization’s Achiever of the Year, landed at No. 2 on the list.

Three stories from the Pew Business spotlight landed in the top 10. Whitening Lightning founder Jennifer Gerard (No. 3), National Association for the Exchange of Industrial Resources (NAEIR) president and CEO Gary C. Smith (No. 9), and Ezechiel “Zeke” Bambolo and First Born Son Inc. (No. 5) made the annual list.

Grelan Muse Sr., founder of Inside The Pew, was pleased at the amount of popularity generated by the spotlight. The section was officially launched in March.

“When we created the section, we wanted to help boost the presence of like-minded entrepreneurs who take Him in to the workplace every day. These types of stories are what our readers want to see. Hopefully, Christians who are considering entrepreneurship can draw from the stories of these individuals.”

Fly Away Records and its Rhythm of Gospel Music Award nominations (No. 10) and Melanie Stone’s column on the attributes of a Kingdom builder (No. 6) rounded out the top 10.

List of top stories

  1. NFL wide receiver launcher clothing line to give glory to God
  2. Goodwill Industries names Houston man 2013 Achiever of the Year
  3. Gerard to fellow entrepreneurs: Trust Him, great things will occur
  4. Filming of Bob Ladouceur movie takes place in New Orleans
  5. The First Born Son Inc. helps restore individuals and families
  6. Stone: Five marks of a kingdom builder
  7. Side of 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh we don’t see everyday
  8. John Harbaugh slated keynote speaker at FCA Maryland event
  9. NAEIR redistributes corporations’ unsold products to nonprofits
  10. Fly Away Records snags Rhythm of Gospel Award nod

By Ginny McCabe
Special to ASSIST News Service

NEW ORLEANS, La. (ANS) — With the cast that stars Jim Caviezel, Laura Dern, Michael Chiklis and Alexander Ludwig, When The Game StandsBob Ladouceur Tall is currently being filmed at a high school football stadium in New Orleans, La. Directed by Thomas Carter, the movie is slated to open in theaters on Sept. 19.

Inspired by a book of the same name from Neil Hayes, and based on a true story, the movie is the latest installment from the same company that has delivered a string of successful films like Soul Surfer, Courageous and Fireproof, among others.

Produced by Mandalay for Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (SPWA) and its AFFIRM Films division, this inspirational, sports drama draws its material from legendary De La Salle High School football coach Bob Ladouceur, “Coach Lad” (Caviezel) and his assistant coach Terry Eidson (Chiklis), who took the Concord (Calf.) Spartans on a 151-game winning streak from 1992 to 2003, shattering all records.

According to reporter Mitch Stephens, Ladouceur currently coaches varsity running backs for the Spartans. In May, Comcast Sports Net Bay Area’s Mike Maoicco reported that San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh approached Ladouceur about working as a consultant in “team dynamics” for the reigning NFC  champions.

The moving story unfolds as Coach Lad and Eidson demonstrate the power of team building that is founded on strong principles like character, faith, responsibility and commitment, said producer David Zelon. He said, in the end, the team and its players learn to stand for something much greater than winning.

Ladouceur’s achievements span more than three decades with the Spartans and include a historic 12-year, 151-game run of consecutive wins, 20 undefeated seasons, seven national titles, five CIF Bowl championships, 17 state championships and 28 CIF North Coast titles. Ladouceur retired in January 2013 and he holds the title for the highest-winning percentage of any coach (.934) with a 399-25-3 record.

“The story of ‘When The Game Stands Tall’ resonates far beyond football or sports in the way all great sports films do. At its core, this is a timeless and universal story about character, hard work and love. Coach Lad’s inspirational and unyielding focus on building integrity, discipline, faith and commitment above all else is his foundation for excelling in coaching and life, and is what gives this story its unique power and magic,” said Steve Bersch, president, SPWA.

“On the surface, it appears that these players just won a lot of football games, but what makes this story so special is that this is a coach who placed little value on winning, instead focusing his players on giving a ‘perfect effort’ in life,” added Zelon. “Underneath it is a resounding testimonial about how much more kids can achieve when they are challenged with responsibility and commitment.”

“I think a ‘perfect effort’ means that you are striving to be the best man you can be on and off of the field. When I was first offered the role and when I read the script, what resonated with me was the coaches’ approach. It not only impacted one group of kids, but generations of kids,” remarked Ludwig, who plays star running back Chris Ryan in the movie.

“Their objective was to turn these boys into men and create a brotherhood. It had nothing to do with winning games and that’s why they were so successful at it,” he continued.

Inside The Pew sports writer Jacob Trimmer contributed to this report.